I needed to split this blog into two parts because there were so many great acts and I wanted to spend a bit of time chatting about a few of them, so you can look them up or just feel like you were at the show.
Obviously, yours truly blew the damn doors off the place with the most Champagne Sunday-esq, joy-fest, high-energy, love-yourself, love-the-world, laugh-at-life, seize-the-moment-fueled forty minutes that we could muster. No dry eyes, good tears, and the people were locked in now. Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times, enjoy the ride, totally committed, kind of audience. We’re actually pretty good at that. We like to hit ‘em hard, quick, and leave them begging for more. Luckily, there were several incredibly talented humans there to pick up where we left off and the show was well underway now. Plus, we got to relax and enjoy it along side everyone!
The first set of performers featured an act from San Diego, CA, called Me + T, a male/ female duo with heartbreaking songs, beautiful soft vocals and harmonies. The Next act was a gentleman named Bill O’Hanlon, a psychotherapist and author who said he’s written over 1,400 songs in the past 6 years. As Nashville is primarily a song writer’s town, this guy has done it “write”…(see what I did there?) and he has hooked up with maybe every other songwriter in town to get to work. Quite prolific. The third guy, Hal Odell, was another great songwriter who gave us our two favorite tunes in that round, “I’m Sorry Blue”, a song apologizing to the color blue for being associated with such a sad emotion, and another one called, “That’s What Love Sounds Like”, a sweet ballad about the real sounds of a deep and familiar love, like giggles, out of tune singing and snoring. It was a really great tune. Overall, three very different acts with a lot of good stories and talent.
The next group of performers were all ladies who have been friends and musical partners forever, and it shows. The call themselves 3 Of Hearts, Kim McLean, Eve Selis, and Randi Driscoll, and they sounded so wonderful together! Three-part harmonies so tasteful you could barely pick out who was singing what at first. Heartfelt stories and beautifully crafted songs; it was a real joy to watch them up there together, laughing, supporting one another, and just being authentic, powerful women. You could really feel the years of relationship between them. Randi has a ten year old daughter that she sang a beautiful song about being “Famous In Her Eyes”. It was super touching and made us miss Rudy even more.
Kim was a really neat lady to listen to. She had spent a good deal of time with Loretta Lynn before she passed, writing songs and developing a book with her called, “A Song And A Prayer”, which featured songs and the stories behind them, focusing mainly on their faith, but also some that just hearkened back to their country roots. She teared up a bit talking about how the news and TV interviews have been surprisingly harder than she expected, because Loretta isn’t here anymore to enjoy the success of all of their work. One story she told was about how Loretta would just call her up and say, “Kim. We need to write today. Come over!”. After the show, I said to her, “Man, I bet it didn’t matter what you were doing when you got those calls… like, “Loretta Lynn sent up the ‘Boot Signal’, I better go!” I’m not sure she got it, but I thought I was hilarious… Either way, she was very kind and the ladies were a special treat.
The last act of the night was a man named Larry Mitchell. He was a surprise for us because we’ve played on stages with him back in Tacoma and we have all kinds of mutual friends and fans, including a really special friend of our family, Rosie Macferson, who has done photos for damn near everyone in the PNW and is a Larry Mitchell super fan. Anyway, Larry had a bit of a hard job, as he is an instrumentalist who doesn’t sing at all. His show relies solely on his stories and then guitar tunes played over tracks that he has built, either himself, or with other artists. But he was great and really kept everyone engaged with anecdotes about Bob Dylan and Tracy Chapman and just a life of being on the road 300+ days a year, until the pandemic hit and he stayed home with his momma and watched Price Is Right, Jeopardy, and Wheel Of Fortune…then napped. He said he was REALLY good at napping. I think we all got good at napping during that time! But Larry was just wonderful and we had fun connecting and making plans for the future and we were both excited to have finally gotten to just sit down and enjoy each other’s shows.
After the show, we got to just chill with the other artists for a bit and meet audience members that had been there the whole night. I loved talking to some of the people who basically just stumbled in off the elevator and got a surprise night of original and unique music for FREE!! They were just floored and felt so lucky to have been there and to have seen something that wasn’t the same thing they had been experiencing on the Broadway strip.
My biggest takeaway from the evening was the heart and passion with which all the acts performed. It is something that we haven’t seen a ton of on the stages while we’ve been here. Each person knew how sacred a spot in these showcases was, how, for every artist that was asked to participate, there were at least fifty others who would have killed for the opportunity. That gratefulness for those chances really shone through. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve seen a lot of talent while we’ve been here, and I’m certainly not downplaying the talent at this particular show, but this felt like it was fueled by something more than talent. It was heart. Each person brought their heart to that stage and just said to their audience, “Here.”
Now, you know with Champagne Sunday, there’s no other option. But is sure felt good to see other acts do the same. It was just the show we needed to close out our Nashville experience. We felt renewed in our hope of possible future endeavors here in the city. We are slowly but surely finding our people and our places, and we know we can make a difference, if we just keep being authentic and leading with our hearts.